The ‘sales meeting’ is an essential operation for all sales teams. However, it can be dreaded by salespeople, rather than welcomed. Improving the way sales meetings are delivered will help motivate your team and improve the productivity of the meeting. It will also help engagement during the meeting, so your salespeople are empowered afterwards.
In this blog, we’ll outline how to plan and prepare a better sales meeting to help motivate your team. We’ll cover:
- Planning and preparation
- Motivating your sales team
- Sales meeting tips
Planning and preparing productive sales meetings
Whether weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly, unnecessary meetings are universally hated. Too many meetings lack substance and sales meetings are no different. The sales meeting should not be seen as simply a box-ticking event. This is a waste of time and can result in having the opposite effect – a negative one.
Ineffective meetings are, in fact, costly. Fortune magazine did an example calculation (in dollars) on how costly it can be: “Start with a company that has 20,000 salaried employees, many of them highly skilled. Then figure that their average total compensation per person is $100,000 annually. Let’s say each one spends a very conservative 15% of his or her time every year in unproductive meetings. The total annual cost to the company of the time lost: $300 million.”
Furthermore, Harvard Business Review asked 182 senior managers across a range of industries whether they found their meetings productive and the results were fairly damning. 65% said that meetings keep them from completing their own work, 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient, 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking and 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
Therefore, planning and preparing productive sales meetings is key to generating value. Here’s how to do it:
Create an agenda: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every sales meeting. A simple, consistent agenda will set the structure. On the agenda, emphasise data, training, feedback, customer success stories and specific, practical actions.
Focus on value: Every meeting should have ‘value’ at its core. For salespeople, that’s helping them close more deals, so the core part of every meeting should keep that in mind.
Participation: If the meeting isn’t actively engaging, your team can get bored. Earn ‘buy-in’ by encouraging interaction, brainstorming sessions and including best practice sharing.
Be consistent: Don’t chop and change every meeting. Set a rhythm and stick to it, so it becomes a regular habit.
Here’s an example of what you can include for a productive meeting:
- Kick off the sales meeting with new wins to create a positive buzz.
- Discuss the latest updates on the sales pipeline – encourage each person to give a quick update themselves.
- Chat about any new challenges as a group, share best practice tips.
- Share insights and feedback about prospects, sales pitching and positioning, company updates and so on.
- Deep dive into the key metrics – use a sales dashboard to see monthly targets, closed deals, meetings, etc (focus on the collective numbers to avoid singling certain people out).
- Discuss industry or organisation news.
Motivating your team
You want your sales meetings to be something your team looks forward to. That’s harder said than done. Sales author, Mike Weinberg, says: “Do your people leave the meeting more aligned, more energised to sell, and better equipped to do their jobs?” If it’s a no, you need to rethink your strategy. If you don’t know how to go about doing that, start by asking your team what they’d like to see. This gets buy-in from the very start.
So, how to motivate your team? Add a team-building element into each meeting to, for example, identify common obstacles and then work out as a group how to overcome them. Other ideas are collaborative projects, shared insights sessions and gamified competitions.
You can also focus on industry insights to help motivate your salespeople in the meeting. Talk about the latest news, industry trends, social media updates, research that impacts your audience, and so on. You can encourage members of the team to come prepared and do this themselves to improve engagement.
Lastly, role-play presents an opportunity for your salespeople to practice. It can make your meeting more dynamic and exciting, but also improves communications skills. Just make sure your sales team know about the role-play in advance so they can prepare properly.
On a more general level, you can improve motivation levels by recognising and appreciating good work, fostering a ‘team’ ethos, encouraging autonomy, and embracing company culture.
Sales meeting tips
To finish, here are a few tips you can immediately implement:
Tip 1: Role-play – Introducing sales role-play isn’t just a fun exercise. It helps sharpen your team’s key skills, generates high levels of engagement and improves sales pitches. If you give your salespeople the chance to practice a scenario before the meeting (such as dealing with a tricky customer), your salespeople can adequately prepare and come up with new ideas.
Tip 2: Bake in training – With value at the core of every meeting, provide training on specific skills with practical takeaways to build strategic value. Demonstrations, Q&As, case studies and examples are good ways to do this. Opt for a more storytelling, interactive approach than a lecture.
Tip 3: Set team and career goals – Every salesperson wants to progress in their career. Help them by providing clear team and individual goals, provide positive insight and feedback on how to reach them, and don’t make any failings public. Follow-up on the sales meeting with one-to-one sessions to discuss any issues with individual goals.
So, when planned and prepared properly, the sales meeting is actually an opportunity for your salespeople to flourish, grow and improve.